After needle scare, strawberry sales pick up again in Australia

For almost two weeks, reports of pins and needles being found in fruit across Australia have delivered a gut punch to industry, keeping grocery-shoppers on edge and leaving police struggling to find needles in a haystack of copycat pranks. But now Australians — adopting a get-on-with-it attitude — have had enough. They are getting back on their berries. Wholesalers are reporting an uptick in sales, thanks in part to social media campaigns that encouraged Australians to bake a strawberry pavlova or just “#Smashastrawb” and eat it. “Things are on the up,” said Jim Ripepi of Australian Strawberry Distributors, a family-owned company that sells strawberries wholesale. “The public support has been really overwhelming. Sales are picking up,” he said. “I was selling out every day this week.” Supermarkets are starting to report a similar trend and are even struggling to meet demand after many of their usual suppliers packed up tools fearing the worst. For some farmers it may be too little too late, but for the industry at large, it’s a godsend. State governments have offered cash rewards for anyone providing information about the culprit.
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